On the surface, Entourage, as a film, is an interesting experiment. Does it have enough strength to compete against the summer’s blockbusters while telling a worthwhile story that might win over converts who haven’t seen the show? That’s the biggest question hanging over series creator and writer/director Doug Ellin’s first big screen outing for the bad boys of HBO. And while it isn’t a huge misfire, there’s nothing here to warrant a reason for anyone outside the fanbase to join in on the shenanigans. Long story short: fans will enjoy this super-sized episode, while it’ll leave those who didn’t watch the show wondering what all the fuss was about.
Catching up nine days after the series’ finale, we get brought up to speed as Eric/“E” (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), are headed out to sea to join Vince (Adrian Grenier) on his yacht to celebrate his annulment. E also has come to help figure out Vince’s next big movie and word slips that Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) may have something available. Ari has come out of retirement and taken over as a big honcho studio head and Vince is willing to take the part on one condition: he gets to make his directorial debut.
Now, Ari is dealing with Texan financier Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) when Vince goes over budget and needs more money to make the film “perfect.” McCredle sends his son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) along to make sure their investment is going to make good on its return. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew are dealing with their own personal lives as E’s ex Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) is close to giving birth, Drama fears he’s almost washed up and could be cut from the film, and Turtle attempts a relationship with Ronda Rousey (playing herself) after newfound success in the tequila business.
Will the film be the big hit Vince promises? Will Ari survive his therapy sessions? Can Turtle last 60 seconds in the ring with Rousey? All that and more on the next episode of Entourage.
All kidding aside, the film isn’t a complete waste. The main problem is that there’s nothing here for anyone uninitiated with the original series. Vince may be a pretty boy, but we never care whether the film flops because Ellin never takes the time to prove that the film Vince is making is as amazing as the characters say it is. In a huge case of irony, the subplot about Drama potentially getting cut from Vince’s movie could hold true to the main film itself. Dillon tries to make his character funny, but his timing is always off and his jokes constantly land with a huge thud. Osment continues to be a big screen irritant, never living up to the potential shown in The Sixth Sense. He seems to only get worse with each part.
The one who gets the biggest laughs, and keeps the film more enjoyable that it deserves to be, is Piven. Having worked in comedic roles since he started out as John Cusack’s right hand man in the ’80s, he keeps his Ari persona larger than life, with a take no prisoners attitude, even when he’s trying to keep his cool talking to the boys while around his wife (Perrey Reeves). Ellin does nothing to warrant an excuse for a big screen version of Entourage, a colleague of mine mentioned that the series is huge overseas and demanded more, so I guess now we know who to blame. The film isn’t a complete disaster, another saving grace are the scenes with Turtle and Rousey, who have a surprisingly sweet chemistry together and honestly could have had a whole film based around them.